Shopping Cart Abandonment vs. Checkout Abandonment

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Shopping Cart Abandonment vs. Checkout Abandonment: What’s the Difference?

Written by: Scott Fitzgerald

Site traffic is up, but sales aren’t. Why? Is it checkout abandonment? Is it cart abandonment? Time to start managing all aspects of abandonment, but what’s the difference between shopping cart abandonment vs. checkout abandonment? Let’s take a look.


Shopping Cart Abandonment vs. Checkout Abandonment

The worst part about eCommerce isn’t that it’s hard – it’s that the guy with his website down the block is making it look so easy. His revenues are growing at 10X the rate of his traffic, but why? And, more importantly, why not your site? The devil may well be in the details and the nuances of what you are putting your shoppers through at checkout. But you have implemented a shopping cart abandonment system, you say? That’s great – but if your checkout process is laden with friction the first time through, the returning shopper isn’t going to convert any better the second time through. The battle between shopping cart abandonment vs. checkout abandonment is ongoing, but you can create a beautiful symphony when you apply active management to both.


Shopping Cart Abandonment vs. Checkout Abandonment _bluesnap


Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment programs focus on the actions you can take to keep someone on your site and, if not, lure them back. The best systems apply advanced personalization to truly understand who your shopper is, what had interested them and where best to reach them. In other words, shopping cart abandonment systems work hard to find that magic combination of offers and messages to push your shopper over the mental hurdle to make that purchase decision. When these systems work their magic, they re-engage your shoppers’ enthusiasm for your product or service and get them ready to click buy.




Enter Checkout Abandonment

Understanding checkout abandonment involves a close look at what can go wrong after that purchase decision is reached. But – let’s be clear (alarm bells should be going off for you): YOUR SHOPPER WANTS YOUR PRODUCT. They are ready to buy. But something in the checkout process is scaring them off (or, as we will discuss, is closing them off) from completing the purchase. We have written a lot about the elements of the Checkout Abandonment Problem. For this post, I want to focus more on the elegance that can be created when you think of shopping cart abandonment vs. checkout abandonment and them working in tandem to create a truly great checkout process – and the active management required to keep these in sync.


To start understanding shopping cart abandonment vs. checkout abandonment, checkout abandonment is broken down into three parts: friction, confidence, and payments.


Checkout Friction:

  • Too many steps/fields – Do shoppers really need to enter their address multiple times to make a purchase?
  • Displaying local currency – Your shopper wants to know what they are really paying
  • Limited payment choices – Are wallets or alternative payment types available?




Consumer Confidence:

  • Local language – If shoppers can’t read your page, adios!
  • Security logos and badges
  • No coupons – Many shoppers won’t buy without them


  • Acquiring banks – Connections to multiple banks is key to higher conversions. If you are connected to only one bank, international transactions are less likely to be approved
  • Retries & failovers – With multiple connections to acquiring banks you can see an uplift of 3% with failovers for 1st time transactions
  • Aggressive fraud rules – Make sure you proactively manage fraud rules and are staying current with the latest fraud patterns so you can avoid false positives
  • Currency mismatch – Processing transactions in local currency can increase conversions up to 12%
  • Large transaction amounts – By breaking up large payments into monthly or quarterly transactions as opposed to yearly transactions, you can decrease the chance that the payment triggers a fraud alert


Taking all of these into account will help you build a great checkout experience, but what if your customers are abandoning before they even get there? This is why you need to consider cart abandonment as well (because a great checkout can’t always do the job, unfortunately).


You Have Built a Great Checkout Experience – Let Them Know

Remarketing, remarketing, remarketing. Say it with me now! When you are remarketing to an abandoned shopper, brag about the ease of checkout. No customer wants to spend the time navigating through five different pages of checkout just to get a single item. You have removed the friction and made it easy – with great terms and lots of payment options. Let them envision the checkout process, fantasize about it, and buy from your site when they are ready.


Don’t Just Send an Offer – Let Them Buy

If a user does attempt to abandon your site before purchasing, connect with that visitor in real-time by engaging them with targeted messaging in an email. Remind them of what they are interested in, and why they were on your site in the first place. If that customer was close to the finish line, why not send them their cart contents via email with a big “Buy Now” button to make it easy and frictionless for them to check out? Thinking about what you can do to get customers converted is key to any cart abandonment strategy.


You Have Payments Information – Use It!

Did you get declines this month – of course you did! On average, eCommerce payments run at about a 90% conversion rate. Are these 10% of shoppers all fraudsters? Are they all deadbeats? How do you figure out this aspect of checkout abandonment? Chances are good a few of them just forget to transfer money into their account or pay a bill. Be friendly to your declines. Let them know you have other payment options on your site besides the one they chose.




Manage, Manage, Manage

The real difference between sites that excel with shopping cart abandonment vs. checkout abandonment and sites that just roll along is a disciplined management process. Neither shopping cart abandonment nor checkout abandonment are set and forget. Both require a regular review of performance. Which email campaigns are converting? Are you A/B testing your offers? Is retargeting reaching the right shoppers and getting them to return – or is your cost per click costing too much?


In the same sense, you also need to manage checkout abandonment. Are the payment options you currently offer performing, or are new payment types being demanded by your consumers? What about conversion rates – has there been a change this month? Week? Day? Maybe fraud rules have changed upstream? Have you adapted? A Checkout Conversion Management process is key to making the most of every shopper. Remember – you are paying a lot for SEO, SEM, ads, referrals – not to mention writing lengthy blogs like these. Don’t miss out on converting every last shopper into a buyer.

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